Missing hikers in Cypress Provincial Park found safe in Lions Bay
Pair got separated from a larger group on the Howe Sound Crest Trail on Monday
Two hikers who got lost while hiking a rugged trail near the Cypress Mountain ski area walked out safely on their own to Lions Bay on Tuesday morning.
The man and woman, who were visiting the Vancouver area to attend a wedding, became separated from the rest of their group while on a day-hike on the rugged Howe Sound Crest Trail.
About nine volunteers spent Monday night searching the entire length of the 29-kilometre trial for the pair.
Another 50 search and rescue volunteers from across Metro Vancouver were joining the search on Tuesday morning when the pair managed to walk out on their own.
They explained they had been hiking ahead of the rest of the group when they lost the main trail and started heading down the wrong route.
By the time they realized they were lost it was dark, and they were too tired to hike back up the steep trail, so they spent a cold night on the mountain dressed in light summer clothing.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, they admitted to being unprepared for a night out in the mountains.
"It was so dark that we couldn't see, so we just stopped there. It was cold. We had some food and stuff," said the man, whose name was not released by officials.
Once it got light they hiked the rest of the way down to the fire hall at Lions Bay on the Sea to Sky Highway. They suffered only some minor scrapes and bruises as a result of the incident.
Unprepared for a night out
North Shore Rescue coordinator Jeff Yarnold blamed poor organization by the group as they rushed to get off the trail before nightfall.
"It was a large group, and poor group management... And very ambitious plans for the day. It just happens in a group that size — it's easy to have two just sort of get left behind," he said.
Searchers were concerned that the two missing members might have left the trail and tried to hike down the mountainside, where they would run into into steep cliffs and dangerous waterfalls.
"It's very challenging terrain. People take it for granted, they're close to the city and they go for a nice walk and the next thing you know, you're in steep 'cliffed-out' terrain," said Yarnold, while the search was still underway.
"The lower people go here, the more treacherous it gets. It all cliffs out, turns into waterfalls."
The Howe Sound Crest Trail is part of Cypress Provincial Park.